Safe Toys and Celebrations Month

Presents decorated with bows

December is the time that millions of families have holiday celebrations! Gift-giving is part of those traditions. 

It is no coincidence that many organizations have named December Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. Don’t let this time of fun and joy turn into a tragedy for your family! Keep reading for some tips to keep this December safe for your family!

Give age-appropriate gifts to children

It’s very important to think about safety when choosing gifts for children. Inspect toys carefully, and make sure they are appropriate for how old your child is. 

Remember that small children can be at risk of trying to play with older siblings’ toys. Toys with sharp edges and other sharp objects are particularly dangerous. 

They are most likely to cause eye injury and vision loss in children. Pencils, pens, darts, knives, fishing hooks, and scissors can easily penetrate the eye. A fun family moment can suddenly be marred by tragedy in an instant. 

Be wary of projectile toys

Toys with projectiles are common causes of eye injury. Injuries from playing with paintball guns, pellet guns, and other toys with projectiles are also common. This can sometimes even need surgery. 

Many people think Nerf darts are safe because they are soft. This is not true! Children who get hit in the eye with them can suffer weeks of pain and blurry vision. 

Water balloons shot from a launcher can cause serious eye injuries. BB guns are dangerous and should never be considered toys. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology strongly recommends against buying projectile toys for children.  

If you are giving children sports equipment, be sure to buy any protective eyewear or goggles to go with it. Your eye doctor can recommend the best options.

Be extra careful with lasers

For laser toys, look for labels that state the device complies with federal regulations. This should include power limitations.  

Laser pointers and flashlights can cause permanent retinal damage. Avoid shining laser pointers or flashlights into the eye at any time, even if it’s meant in jest. 

Christmas trees can be dangerous for everyone

Christmas trees can pose risks for both adults and children.  Be sure to wear eye protection if you are cutting down your own tree. 

Keep goggles on when loading the tree onto your car roof, because it’s easy to get poked in the eye, or get tree sap in the eye. Supervise children carefully when decorating the tree. 

Sharp needles and branches, pointy lights, and glass ornaments can cause eye injuries. Be sure to hang glass ornaments out of the reach of children. 

Don’t place gifts very far under the tree, because children can get poked in the eye with pine needles. Trees can tip over if pulled too hard, so keep small children at a distance.  

Pop the champagne but do it outside

Champagne is often a feature of New Year’s Eve celebrations, but be careful about flying corks.  Use a hand towel when popping a cork to avoid it flying into someone’s eye!  

Don’t point the bottle at yourself or anyone else when opening it. When possible, always open bottles of champagne outside. Flying corks can become dangerous inside in the blink of an eye.

Don’t forget about eye protection if you’re outside skiing

For some people, a ski vacation with family and friends is the best part of celebrating the holidays. Be sure to take sunscreen and sun goggles. 

Many people don’t realize that sun damage can occur during the winter. UV rays that reflect off snow can be twice as strong. 

Make sure to wear sunglasses or goggles that block 99-100% of UV rays. They should also wrap around the eye to provide the best protection.

Want to make sure your family’s eyes are in the best shape possible this holiday season? Schedule an appointment at VisionFirst Eye Center in Birmingham, AL today! No matter where you’re going, have a happy and safe holiday!

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